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Work sucks. Fix it.

"Work sucks," according to Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson, unless we rebel and do work differently. Unless we do it the way it makes sense. The way it ought to be done in the Information Age.

Instead, we're stuck in this Industrial Age mindset of forty hours, Monday through Friday, eight to five. And it's making us sick, according to Ressler and Thompson -- authors of Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It. It's why this sense of dread descents upon most of us on Sunday evenings, about the time that Sixty Minutes comes on. We know, deep down, that what we're about to do the next morning is stupid and unhealthy.

The solution as they see it? They call it a Results-Only Work Environment, or ROWE. In a ROWE, people can do whatever they want, whenever they want, as long as the work gets done. As long as someone is getting the results they are responsible for, their life is their own.

Ressler and Thompson wrote their book this year to start a movement, a movement to reshape the way things get done at work. They base their belief that this workplace of absolute trust and treating-adults-like-adults will really work on their experience in the early 2000's at Best Buy Corporate headquarters. They implemented ROWE there and found that:

  • employees are happier
  • company productivity is up an average of 35%, and
  • voluntary turnover rates are down as much as 90% in some divisions.

What do you think?

  • Would a ROWE work where you work? Why or why not?
  • How hard would it be for you as a leader to embrace the idea of trust to that extent?
  • Are there some people who would thrive in a ROWE and others who would fail miserably?
  • Do you already set the kind of clear goals and expectations that tell you whether someone is doing their job and getting the results they're supposed to get?

We all need clear targets and results-statements to be able to do our best work. And we'd all like to think that if we were just given the freedom to get those results as we see fit, we'd do it. However, the fact that so many people leave corporate America to start their own enterprises and survive only a year or two --in spite of being their own bosses and having total freedom to get the results they're after -- makes me wonder: like everything else in life, does a ROWE require an awful lot of discipline, more than a lot of us have? I know, that sucks!




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